Thrift Shop(ping)

Even before Macklemore, a great thrift shop find delighted me.

I learned about thrift shopping from an English friend. Her family signaled many indications of affluence to me, so I was surprised by a conversation one day in which she shared that she frequented local thrift shops. She told me that she even said a little prayer each time she sat in her car before entering the thrift shop in hope of finding what she needed that day.

I began, following her practice, to seek specific items after looking over our wardrobe needs at home. I was able to find jeans of various sizes for growing kiddos, cute tops for my girls, and even cold weather clothing as our needs changed.

If you or someone you know might like some tips for thrift shopping, here are a few suggestions:

1. Know your wardrobe. If you know your style, what you have at home, and what you need, you can pull together random brands and create ensembles of amazingness–but no one is going to offer you a mannequin to put together a cookie-cutter outfit.

2. Shop for basics. I own several different black skirts. And black shirts. And white shirts. And cream shirts. And various styles of jeans. I have found many of these items thrifting. And I use them regularly to build with prints & stripes & accessories (I adore scarves!) to build an outfit. They are timeless.

3. Don’t be afraid. Thrift stores have a smell to them, don’t they? Who cares? You wash your clothing, right? Carry your hand sanitizer if you must, but go inside and look. Shop. Wash. Wear. Repeat. You are saving the environment, resurrecting retro styles, and helping thrift stores. 🙂

4. Look for “deals” or sales at your local thrift shop. Sometimes, if you ask an employee, they will let you know which items have been in stock longest (many stores have colored tags or other systems of coding items to keep track of shelf life)…& occasionally these items will be discounted even more than the normally low thrift shop prices.

5. Donate. You know that old sweater Great Aunt Marge sent you for Christmas that has been in the back of your closet crowding your clothes for three years? Someone needs it for an ugly sweater party. I promise. Donate it. Share the love. You won’t be sorry. Remember that someone’s trash is another one’s treasure.

6. Ask questions. If you find something you love with a stain or hole along the seam that you could easily fix, ask for an additional discount for your trouble. You may have to wait for a manager, but it could save you some cash.

7. Know your market. Occasionally, you might catch those amazing sales for whatever at the mall. It’s true. And if you can pick up a shirt for a kiddo in your life for less than $1 retail, do it. It’s more economical than thrifting.

8. Go for it!!! If you want to try a new style for you–or a new color–or you wonder if you could pull off a certain something…look for whatever it is at your local thrift shop. That way, if it’s a bomb, you only spent a couple of dollars. But, who knows? You just might ROCK IT!

Best of luck thrift shopping! Do you thrift? Have any fun stories to share? Any fabulous finds? 🙂